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close this bookWhere Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)
close this folderChapter 12: Sexual Health
close this folderWorking for Change
View the documentChanging harmful gender roles
View the documentImproving sexual health in your community

Improving sexual health in your community

Gender roles are different in each community, and so are the difficulties women and men face when trying to improve their sexual health. Here is a way to begin a discussion about why it may be hard for women to practice safer sex in your community.

¨ To work for change in your community, it is important to identify the barriers to practicing safer sex.

1. Begin by telling a story, like “Fma’s story”. Talk about Fma and Emanuel as if they lived in your community.

2. After telling the story, start a discussion with questions like, “Why didn’t Fma protect herself from AIDS?” “Do you think she realized that she could get AIDS?” “If no, why not?”

3. Once the group has talked about the importance of understanding risk, you can talk about other barriers to safer sex. For example: What are the difficulties that women like Fma face if they try to practice safer sex? Why do women find it hard to talk with their partners about safer sex? What can women do to convince their partners to practice safer sex?

4. Talk about what can be done in your community to help women like Fma. Discuss how you can help to overcome barriers to safer sex in your community. End the discussion by making a plan to improve sexual health in your community.